Red Bulls credit specific gameplan in frustrating New York City FC

HARRISON, N.J. – The gameplan really didn’t change much for the New York Red Bulls this week, who pressed relentlessly and high in a 4-0 win over New York City FC at Red Bull Arena. It was a win of style for the Red Bulls who were a matchup nightmare on the day against their crosstown rivals.

It was a result that in many ways was even more dominant that the 7-0 win by the Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium two years ago, a game that had been the benchmark for RBNY up to this point in the rivalry. NYCFC managed just one shot on goal and star forward David Villa didn’t have a single shot in the match. Maxi Moralez, the influential midfielder for NYCFC, kept needing to drop deep into his own midfield to get on the ball.

The Red Bulls midfield trio of Kaku, Sean Davis and Tyler Adams – all layered on top of each in three different lines, congested the midfield to the point that NYCFC simply couldn’t break out.

“We designed a specific tactical pressuring scheme to try to limit those two guys. That being said, you know, with Moralez, he's very nifty and he's very clever at finding little pockets,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said after the match.

“So it was sometimes going to be Tyler around him, but it was also going to require whoever was in the vicinity to be aware of where he was and to close down his space. And then I think you saw a tough day for David Villa based on the performances of Tim Parker and Aaron Long. So you know, if we can continue to get really good defensive performances and continue to tactically be on top of games, then the potential for this team is good.”

Last year, NYCFC took the NY Derby, two wins and a draw in regular season play. They did so by circumventing the Red Bulls famed pressing and counterpressing.

This year, NYCFC was slow and borderline lethargic in their build-up which played squarely into the Red Bulls gameplan.

 “The pressing is still the same, its just that the tactic is different from game-to-game based off of which opponent we’re facing,” said RBNY midfielder Florian Valot, who scored the second goal of the match.

“I think today the gameplan was clear, forcing them to the right side. I think we did a good job. The system stayed the same, we still press a lot. We kind of wanted to be against the ball and I think we did a good job against them again.”